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Title: Biographical Outlines
       British History


Author: Anonymous



Release Date: February 17, 2013  [eBook #42120]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-646-US (US-ASCII)


***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK BIOGRAPHICAL OUTLINES***

Transcribed from the [1879] B. Harris & Co. edition by David Price, email ccx074@pglaf.org

BIOGRAPHICAL OUTLINES

 

BRITISH HISTORY.

 

London:

B. HARRIS & Co.,

4, Great Marlborough Street, W.

p. iiiINDEX.

 

PAGE

à-Becket, Thos.

10

Abercrombie, Sir Ralph

56

Addison, Joseph

37

Agricola

3

Alban, Saint

3

Alfred, King

6

Arkwright, Sir Richard

52

Arthur, King

4

Asser

7

Augustine, Saint

5

Bacon, Francis

29

Bacon, Roger

11

Barbauld, Mrs.

67

Bede, Venerable

6

Black Prince

17

Blackstone, Sir William

49

Blake, Admiral

32

Boadicea

2

Brindley, James

46

Bruce, Sir Robert

14

Brunel, Sir I. K.

81

Bunyan, John

35

Burke, Edmund

54

Butler, Joseph

41

Byron, Lord

67

Cabot, Sebastian

24

Cæsar, Julius

1

Campbell, Thomas

74

Canute

8

Caractacus

2

Caxton, William

20

Cecil, William

26

Chantrey, Sir Francis

73

Chaucer

18

Clive, Lord

46

Coleridge, Samuel Taylor

72

Constantine

4

Cook, Captain

48

Cornwallis, Lord

57

Cowper, William

56

Crabbe, George

69

Cranmer, Thomas

23

Davy, Sir Humphrey

68

Defoe, Daniel

40

Dickens, Charles

84

Drake, Sir Francis

25

Dunstan, Saint

8

Dryden, John

35

Edgeworth, Maria

77

Edward I.

3

Edward III.

16

Evelyn, John

36

Fielding, Henry

42

Flamstead, John

37

Flaxman, John

68

Franklin, Sir John

76

Fry, Mrs. Elizabeth

74

Fox, Charles James

60

Gainsborough, Thos.

51

Garrick, David

48

Gibbon, Edward

53

Gildas the Wise

5

Goldsmith, Oliver

47

Gower, John

18

Hampden, John

30

Harvey, Dr.

33

p. ivHastings, Warren

63

Hengist and Horsa

4

Henry V.

18

Herschel, Sir William

65

Hogarth, William

43

Hume, David

47

Jenner, Dr.

66

Johnson, Dr.

49

Jones, Inigo

32

Jonson, Ben

30

Keats, John

64

Keble, John

83

Kemble, John

66

Ken, Bishop

36

Langton, Cardinal

11

Laud, William

31

Lawrence, Sir Thomas

69

Lely, Sir Peter

34

Llewellyn

13

Locke, John

36

Marlborough, Duke of

38

Milton, John

34

Montfort, Simon de

12

Moore, Sir John

62

Moore, Thomas

80

More, Hannah

71

More, Sir Thomas

22

Mortimer, Roger

15

Nelson, Lord

57

Neville, Earl of Warwick

19

Newton, Sir Isaac

40

O’Connell, Daniel

75

Palmerston, Lord

82

Park, Mungo

61

Paulinus

2

Peel, Sir Robert

77

Peter the Hermit

9

Philippa, Queen

16

Pitt, Lord Chatham

47

Pitt, William

59

Pope, Alexander

41

Raleigh, Sir Walter

28

Reynolds, Sir Joshua

53

Richard Cœur de Lion

10

Richardson, Samuel

43

Rodney, Lord

52

Rogers, Samuel

80

Scott, Sir Walter

70

Shakespeare

28

Shelley, Sir Percy

65

Sheridan

62

Sidney, Sir Philip

24

Smollett

45

Southey

73

Spenser, Edmund

27

Steele

40

Sterne

44

Stephenson, Sir Robert

81

Stuart, James

44

Stuart, Charles Edward

49

Swift, Dean

41

Taylor, Jeremy

83

Thackeray, William M.

82

Tyndale, William

23

Tyrrell, Sir Walter

9

Vandyke

31

Wallace, Sir William

13

Walsingham, Sir Francis

25

Watt, James

64

Wedgwood, Josiah

53

Wellington, Duke of

79

Wesley, John

51

Whitfield, George

45

Wilberforce, William

71

Wilkie, Sir David

72

Wolfe, General

42

Wolsey, Cardinal

20

Wordsworth, William

78

Wren, Sir Christopher

39

p. 1JULIUS CÆSAR.

B.C. 100–44.

This greatest of the Roman generals, and afterwards the first Roman emperor, having subdued the whole of Gaul, beyond and on this side the Alps (now France, Switzerland, and part of Italy), invaded Britain, and landing near Deal, defeated the Britons and obliged them to pay tribute, B.C. 55.  The next year he led a second and larger army to Britain, and having conquered the British tribes in several battles, he took possession of the southern provinces, and paved the way for the total occupation of Britain by the Romans.

p. 2CARACTACUS.

Died A.D. 43.

A brave British general (son of a native king, Cunobolin) who resisted the Romans when, under the Emperor Claudius, they extended their conquests in Britain.  Taken prisoner to Rome, and led in triumph, he expressed his surprise that a nation possessed of such magnificence could covet his humble cottage in Britain.

PAULINUS.

Died A.D. 59.

A Roman general sent to Britain under the Emperor Nero.  He attacked and destroyed the Druids in the island of Anglesea, and so roused the Britains that, under their queen, Boadicea, they defeated the Romans with great slaughter, and burned London.

BOADICEA.

Died A.D. 61.

Queen of the Iceni, who occupied p. 3Norfolk and the valley of the great Ouse.  She and her daughter being shamefully and cruelly treated by the Romans, under Paulinus, attacked and defeated them and burned London.  She was, however, soon after defeated by them in Essex, and eighty thousand Britons were slain, when in despair she poisoned herself.

AGRICOLA.

Died A.D. 78.

A Roman general under the Emperor Vespasian, conquered most of Britain and part of Scotland (called Caledonia).  He taught the Britons Roman arts and customs, made roads, and built two walls to keep out the unsubdued tribes in the far north.  His sailors sailed round Great Britain, and so discovered it to be an island.

SAINT ALBAN.

Died A.D. 303.

A British officer of the Roman army, who became the first Christian martyr p. 4in England at Verulam, now called St. Albans.

CONSTANTINE THE GREAT.

Born A.D. 309.—Died A.D. 337.

The first Christian Roman emperor.  The son of the Emperor Constantius, who came over to Britain, had married a British princess, and died at York A.D. 309; where Constantine assumed the rank of emperor.  He is said by some historians to have been born in England.  He greatly promoted Christianity.

HENGIST AND HORSA.

A.D. 449.

Two Saxon chiefs, who came over at the invitation of the Britons, under their chief, Vortigern, to help them drive back the Picts and Scots, who, coming from the north, invaded the country when the Romans abandoned Britain.

KING ARTHUR.

Reigned 508–533.

When the Romans left Britain, A.D. p. 5409, the country split up into principalities and petty kingdoms, under chiefs.  Vortigern brought in the Saxons to help him reign, and they took possession of most of southern England.  King Arthur is said to have stemmed the invasion and conquered them in twelve pitched battles, and to have formed a league of chiefs reaching from Somersetshire to the Frith of Forth.  Beautiful legends have been written about this league and the chiefs who joined in it.  Arthur’s reign lasted twenty-five years.

GILDAS THE WISE.

A.D. 570.

The first British historian.  A native of Wales, and a monk.  He died A.D. 570.

SAINT AUGUSTINE.

Died A.D. 596.

A Benedictine monk, who was sent over from Rome by Pope Gregory the Great, at the invitation of the p. 6Saxon king Ethelbert, to preach the Gospel in Britain.  Two of the kings were soon converted to Christianity, who pulled down the heathen temples and began to build churches.

VENERABLE BEDE.

Born 672.—Died 735.

A Benedictine monk of great learning, and an early author and historian; he translated the Scriptures into Anglo-Saxon.  Died A.D. 735.

ALFRED THE GREAT.

Born 849.—Died 901.—Ethelwulf.—Ethelbald—Ethelbert.—Ethelred.—Alfred.

This extraordinary man, who has with justice been called the greatest of all the line of English kings, was the son of Ethelwulf and Osburga, and was born at Wantage in Berkshire.  He learnt to read at six years old, and steadily set himself to gain and spread the love of learning, when he began his reign at seventeen.  The Danes overran his kingdom, and he was forced to take refuge in p. 7the Isle of Athelney, between the rivers Parret and Tone; it was then that he was set to watch the cakes baking in the ashes, in a hut in which he had asked shelter.  After he had subdued the Danes, Alfred enlarged his fleet, and sent envoys to other countries to obtain a knowledge of their state and productions.  His name was well known at Rome, Constantinople, Bagdad, and even in India.  Alfred first sketched out the English Constitution in his Code of Laws.  He built and endowed schools, had books written and chained in the churches, and invented a wax-candle clock, which measured the time by burning an inch of wax in twenty minutes.  After a reign of thirty-four years, spent in unceasing toil for the good of his people, Alfred died in 901.

ASSER.

Died 909.

A native of Wales, a learned monk, and Bishop of Sherbourne, who was p. 8tutor to King Alfred.  He afterwards wrote his life.  Died A.D. 909.

ST. DUNSTAN, ABBOT.

Born 945.—Died 978.

A Saxon nobleman, who became a Benedictine monk, Abbot of Glastonbury Abbey, and Archbishop of Canterbury, was the most learned man of his time.  He learnt every art then known, and first used stained glass and organs in England.  He lived for some time in a cave, and is said to have had personal battles with Satan, who appeared under different shapes to tempt him.

CANUTE THE GREAT.

Reigned 1017–1035.

A Danish king who came to the throne in 1017, he ruled over England, Norway, Sweden and Denmark, and was therefore called “The Great.”  He rebuked his courtiers, who flattered him, by commanding the waves to retire, and when they p. 9wetted his feet reminded them that there was only One who could say to the ocean, “Thus far shalt thou go, and no farther.”  He died A.D. 1035.

PETER THE HERMIT.

Died 1115.

A poor French priest who, on his return from a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, went about from country to country persuading princes and people to join in the crusades against the Saracens with great enthusiasm.

SIR WALTER TYRRELL.

William II.

All that we read of this character is the story of his accidentally shooting King William II. while they were hunting together in the New Forest.  It is supposed by many historians that the arrow was aimed intentionally at the king.  By most modern authors the story is entirely discredited.

p. 10THOMAS À BECKET.

Born 1117.—Died 1170.—Henry I.—Stephen.—Henry II.

Chancellor to Henry II. and tutor to his son, he became a great favourite with the king, who afterwards made him Archbishop of Canterbury.  He then espoused the cause of the clergy against the king, and so exasperated him by turning against him, that he was murdered in Canterbury Cathedral by four knights, in whose presence the king had a short time previously rashly exclaimed: “Is there nobody that will rid me of this turbulent priest?”

RICHARD CŒUR DE LION.

Reigned 1189–1199.

Son of Henry II.; succeeded his father in 1189 as King Richard I.  Of the ten years of his reign, six months only were spent in England; his life was passed in the crusades in the Holy Land, when after taking Acre he attacked Jerusalem, but without success.  On his return p. 11through Germany, after being shipwrecked, he was imprisoned by the emperor, and was not released until he had paid a heavy ransom.  Shortly after his return he was besieging a castle in France, when he was shot by an arrow.

STEPHEN CARDINAL LANGTON.

Born 1151—Died 1228.—John.

Stephen Langton, English Chancellor of the University of Paris, was made Archbishop of Canterbury, but, owing to the king’s opposition, did not enter into possession till 1213, when John was obliged to give way.  Langton formed a solemn league with the English barons against the king’s tyranny; and the Great Charter of English liberty which they drew up was signed by John at Runnymead, near Windsor, in 1215.  In the Great Charter the first idea of the House of Lords is drawn out.

ROGER BACON.

Born 1214.—Died 1294.

A Franciscan monk, born at Ilchester, p. 12in Somersetshire.  A natural philosopher and man of science.  He is acknowledged to have introduced the study of chemistry into England, and was the first to combine the ingredients of gunpowder, though he did not foresee to what the discovery would lead.

SIMON DE MONTFORT,

Died 1265.—Henry III.

Earl of Leicester, headed a rebellion against King Henry III., whom he defeated and took prisoner, with his son, Prince Edward, in a battle at Lewes.  During the king’s imprisonment he called together a Parliament, the first to which the boroughs sent members.  Prince Edward soon after this escaped, and collecting an army, attacked Montfort near Evesham, who, although he was an experienced general, was utterly defeated, and he and one of his sons were killed and almost torn to pieces.

p. 13LLEWELLYN,

Died 1282.—Henry III.—Edward I.

The last king of Wales, who refusing to do homage to King Edward I., was attacked by him, and taken prisoner to London.  He was released on paying a heavy tribute and giving up the whole of Wales, excepting the island of Angelsea; resisting the heavy yoke put upon him, he was surprised and slain a few years afterwards, in 1282.

SIR WILLIAM WALLACE.

Born 1276.—Died 1305.—Henry III.—Edward I.

A brave Scottish warrior who resisted the English under Edward I.  He gained a great victory over the English near Stirling, and for several years kept the English at bay.  He was, however, at length defeated, betrayed and sent to London, and beheaded in 1305.

EDWARD I.

Reigned 1272–1307.

Son of Henry III.  Married (1) p. 14Eleanor of Castile and (2) Margaret of France.  Annexed Wales to England.  Began the conquest of Scotland, and removed the block of marble on which the Scottish kings were crowned, from Scone (now in Westminster Abbey).  The nobles, asserting the privileges of the Great Charter, began to assemble and act in this reign as the first House of Lords; and by creating “Barons by writ” Edward broke in upon the monopolies of the nobles, and laid the foundations of the House of Commons.

ROBERT BRUCE,

Born 1274.—Died 1320.—Edward I.—Edward II.

Who had been educated in King Edward I.’s household, succeeded Wallace as leader of the Scots against Edward I.  Having slain his rival claimant the Red Comyn in the Grey Friars Church at Dumfries, Bruce borrowed robes, chain, and gold rim from some saint’s image, p. 15and had himself crowned King of Scotland at Scone.  After the most romantic escapes and adventures, and retaking all the castles Edward I. had gained, except Stirling, Bruce defeated Edward II. at the great battle of Bannockburn, not far from Stirling, and freed Scotland from the English yoke.

ROGER MORTIMER,

Born 1287.—Died 1330.—Edward I.—Edward II.—Edward III.

Earl of March.  The wicked queen of Edward II. (Isabella) having joined with Mortimer, Earl of March, in the murder of her husband at Berkeley Castle, they governed England as they pleased.  Mortimer set up a new order of Knights of the Round Table, in imitation of King Arthur.  Edward III., still only a boy, surprised the guilty queen’s favourite in Nottingham Castle, and after a trial by his peers, Mortimer was hanged at Tyburn, 1330.

p. 16EDWARD III.

Reigned 1327–1377.

Son of Edward II.  First claimed the crown of France.  Won the battles of Cressy (1346) and Poitiers (1356), and took Calais.  Great part of France made over to the (Black) Prince of Wales.  First Speaker of House of Commons (1376), and great development of the Commons’ privileges.  Edward III. reigned half a century, and was one of the wisest, ablest, and most useful of the English kings.

QUEEN PHILIPPA.

Mar. 1327.—Died 1369.—Edward III.

Philippa of Hainault, the queen of Edward III., was the sister of the Count of Hainault in Flanders (Belgium).  She was a most religious, wise, and able woman, who ruled the country while the king was at war in France as well as he did himself.  She went with the army against the Scots, and defeated them at Nevil’s Cross, close to Durham, 1346.  After p. 17the siege of Calais Queen Philippa begged the lives of Eustace de St. Pierre and five other French gentlemen, whom the king had condemned to death.  When Queen Philippa died, Edward fell under the power of a wretched woman, and lost the confidence of his nobles and people.

THE BLACK PRINCE.

Born 1330.—Died 1376.—Edward III.

The Prince of Wales, son of King Edward III., called the Black Prince from the colour of his armour, was knighted on the sands at La Hogue, in the midst of the war between England and France about the succession to Bretagne (Brittany).  He distinguished himself with extraordinary valour at the battles of Cressy and Poitiers, and the siege of Calais.  He married Joan of Kent, and held his court chiefly at Bordeaux, and having ruined his health by an excessive love of fighting, his last years were spent in a sick room.

p. 18GEOFFREY CHAUCER,

Born 1321.—Died 1400.—Edward II.—Edward III.—Richard III.

Born in London, and called the first English poet, wrote the twenty-four Canterbury Tales.  The scene is laid in the Tabard inn, Southwark, and the characters of noble, knight, yeoman, prioress, pardoner, parson, clerk of Oxford, reeve or steward, and Robin the miller, etc., give the best pictures of the Plantagenet times that exist.

JOHN GOWER.

Born 1325.—Died 1402.—Edward II.—Edward III.—Richard II.—Henry IV.—Henry V.

An early English poet, born in Yorkshire, who flourished about the same time as Chaucer.  His poems are chiefly on moral subjects, the first edition of them being printed by Caxton.  He was a liberal benefactor to the church of St. Saviour, Southwark, and died in London.

HENRY V.

Reigned 1413–1422.

Son of Henry IV.  When Prince of p. 19Wales called “Madcap Hal.”  Invaded France and fought the battle of Agincourt.  Was acknowledged Regent of France and successor to the crown.  Lived chiefly in Paris, and died at Vincennes, when in the full glory of his reign.

RICHARD NEVILLE,

Born about 1420.—Died 1471.—Harry V.—Henry VI.—Edward IV.

Earl of Warwick (the king maker).  This famous nobleman, also known as the last of the Barons, was the son of the Earl of Salisbury, and first cousin of Edward IV., son of the Duke of York.  After the first great battle of the Rose wars (St. Albans) Warwick joined the Yorkists.  After the battles of Bloreheath, Northampton, Wakefield, and Mortimer’s Cross, Warwick was defeated in the second battle of St. Albans.  He again won the bloodiest struggle of the Rose wars, Towton, but was slain at Barnet, fighting against Edward IV.  With him English feudalism died.

p. 20WILLIAM CAXTON.

Born 1410.—Died 1491.—Henry IV.—Henry V.—Henry VI.—Edward IV.—Edward V.—Richard III.—Henry VII.

William Caxton was born in Kent.  He seems to have begun authorship long before printing.  He went to Bruges in 1468 with the English bride of Duke Charles of Burgundy, and translated for her the Recueil des Histoires de Troye, by the duke’s chaplain.  Having learnt in Germany (Cologne) to print, he brought out this translation in 1471.  He removed in 1474 to Westminster, where he lived in the Reed Pale, near the Almonry, and set up his printing-press there.  The first book printed there was The Game and Playe of the Chesse, translated out of the French.  When he died in 1491, Wynkyn de Worde and Richard Pynson worked the press.

CARDINAL WOLSEY.

Born 1471.—Died 1530.—Edward IV.—Edward V.—Richard III.—Henry VII.—Henry VIII.

Thomas Wolsey, the son of a p. 21butcher at Ipswich, became a fellow of Magdalen College in Oxford.  He was a friend of the famous Erasmus, and helped him in pushing the study of Greek.  While Bursar of Magdalen College he built the college chapel tower.  He was sent as envoy to Bruges on a negociation of marriage between Margaret of Savoy, daughter of the Emperor Maximilian, and Henry VII., and was rewarded for the speed of his journey by the deanery of Lincoln.  Under Henry VIII. Wolsey was successively made king’s almoner, chancellor of the garter, archbishop of York, cardinal legate, and lord chancellor of England.  His splendour and state surpassed that of any minister ever seen in England.  York Place (now Whitehall), Esher, and Hampton Court were his residences in and near London.  He built Christ Church College in Oxford, and a grammar school at Ipswich.  When Wolsey failed to induce Cardinal Campeggio to annul p. 22Henry’s marriage with Katherine of Arragon, the king refused to see him again.  The great seal was taken from him, and he was ordered to retire to York.  He was arrested for high treason, and on his way to London, died in Leicester Abbey, wishing he had served God as faithfully as he had the king.

SIR THOMAS MORE.

Born 1480.—Died 1535.—Edward IV.—Edward V.—Richard III.—Henry VII.—Henry VIII.

Was born in Milk Street, London, brought up in the household of Cardinal Morton under Henry VII.  He was early distinguished by great attainments, wit, and dauntless love of truth.  When Speaker of the House of Commons, he came into collision with Wolsey upon a loan of £800,000 demanded by the king.  As not a member would open his lips, Wolsey appealed to More, who said that unless all the statues around him could put their wits into his head, he could not answer His Grace.  More p. 23refused to take the oath of supremacy to Henry VIII. as head of the English Church, and he was executed on Tower Hill.  His daughter, Margaret Roper, rescued his head.  He was a man of deep and various learning, and his Utopia, or romance of a model republic, is well known.

WILLIAM TYNDALE.

Born 1447.—Died 1536.—Henry VI.—Edward IV.—Edward V.—Richard III.—Henry VII.—Henry VIII.

Was born in Wales, educated at Cambridge, and with Miles Coverdale made a new translation of the New Testament, the Pentateuch, and the book of Jonah.  He was strangled and burnt at the stake at Vilvoord, in consequence of the success of his translations of the Bible.

THOMAS CRANMER,

Born 1489.—Died 1556.—Henry VII.—Henry VIII.—Edward VI.—Mary.

Born at Aslacton, in Nottinghamshire, was a tutor at Cambridge, and was made at one bound Archbishop p. 24of Canterbury.  He owed his rise to his clever suggestions for enabling Henry VIII. to divorce Queen Katherine, and became the favourite of Anne Boleyn in consequence.  As Primate he sanctioned three divorces of Henry VIII.  He drew up the Book of Common Prayer.  He perished at the stake at Oxford in 1550, under Mary, after signing several recantations which he finally repudiated, and died with firmness.

SEBASTIAN CABOT,

Born 1447.—Died 1557.—Edward IV.—Edward V.—Richard III.—Henry VII.—Henry VIII.—Edward VI.

Was born at Bristol, of Venetian ancestry; became a celebrated navigator.  He was the first to see the coast of Labrador from the ship Matthew, and discovered a great part of America.

SIR PHILIP SIDNEY.

Born 1554.—Died 1586.—Mary.—Elizabeth.

This eminent gentleman, poet, and man of letters was born at Penshurst p. 25in Kent.  He was General of the Horse under Queen Elizabeth, and distinguished himself in many engagements.  He wrote a romance called Arcadia and The Defence of Poesie.  He was killed at the battle of Zutphen in Holland, where, when a draught of water was brought him, he showed his unselfishness by sending it to a poor dying soldier near him, saying, “He wants it more than I do.”

SIR FRANCIS WALSINGHAM.

Born 1536.—Died 1590.—Henry VIII.—Edward VI.—Mary.—Elizabeth.

Sir Francis Walsingham was one of Elizabeth’s most devoted ministers, and one of the craftiest and wiliest of men.  He had an army of spies in pay, and was the chief mover in the cruelties practised in Elizabeth’s reign, and in the beheading of Mary Queen of Scots.

SIR FRANCIS DRAKE.

Born 1545.—Died 1596.—Henry VIII.—Edward VI.—Mary.—Elizabeth.

One of the “Devonshire Worthies,” p. 26born at Tavistock.  Sailing from Plymouth with five ships, he passed through the Straits of Magellan to the South Seas, captured many large Spanish galleons with his famous Golden Hind, and returned to Plymouth by the Cape of Good Hope.  He had been two years and ten months sailing round the world (December 1577 to 1580).  Queen Elizabeth dined with Drake on board the Golden Hind at Deptford and knighted him with her own hands.  Some of the timbers of Drake’s famous ship were made into a chair, which was given to the university of Oxford.  Drake took a distinguished part in the defeat of the Spanish Armada.

WILLIAM CECIL,

Born 1520.—Died 1598.—Henry VIII.—Edward VI.—Mary.—Elizabeth.

Lord Burleigh, was born in Lincolnshire.  He was the greatest of all Queen Elizabeth’s statesmen and the chief originator of the English merchant p. 27navy.  By taking their privileges from the Hanse Town steelyard merchants, who monopolized nearly all the foreign trade of England, he obliged English merchants to build their own ships; and devoted himself also to raising the revenues of the country.  He purified the coinage and took a chief part in building the first Exchange, where the London merchants could meet under cover to transact their business.  He persuaded Queen Elizabeth to visit it, and it ever after was known as the Royal Exchange.  This building was burnt in the great fire (1666).  Lord Burleigh was a silent and most cautious man, fond of books and his garden, and was a most useful minister to England.

EDMUND SPENSER.

Born 1553.—Died 1599.—Mary.—Elizabeth.

The author of the Fairy Queen, six books of which were unfortunately lost by his servant when coming from p. 28Ireland, where Spenser was private secretary to the cruel Lord Grey de Wilton.  He was the great friend of Sir Philip Sidney and Sir Walter Raleigh.  He was born and died in London.

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE.

Born 1564.—Died 1616.—Mary.—Elizabeth.—James I.

Universally acknowledged as the greatest poet that ever lived.  He was born in 1564 at Stratford-on-Avon, and when quite young delighted the court of Queen Elizabeth with his genius.  His plays are the best known of his works, and those which relate to historical subjects are treasuries of information upon the manners, customs, and mode of life of the times they represent.

SIR WALTER RALEIGH,

Born 1552.—Died 1618.—Edward VI.—Mary.—Elizabeth.—James I.

Was born at Hayes, in Devonshire, and was one of the “Devonshire Worthies.”  He was the son of a p. 29Devonshire gentleman of small fortune, who rose rapidly in favour with Queen Elizabeth from his wit, good looks, and great talents.  He was sent on a command to Ireland, and afterwards took great part in colonizing Virginia in North America.  In the reign of James I. he was unjustly accused of high treason and sent to the Tower, where he wrote his famous “History of the World.”  He was beheaded at Westminster, though his guilt was never proved.

FRANCIS BACON,

Born 1561.—Died 1626.—Elizabeth.—James I.—Charles I.

Lord Verulam, was born in London.  This extraordinary man was a great statesman and lawyer, an eminent writer, and has been called the Light of Science and Father of Experimental Philosophy.  He was made Royal Keeper and Lord Chancellor under James I., and then trafficked in the decisions of the woolsack.  After a career of unbounded expense and the p. 30most unprincipled use of his high offices, Bacon was impeached and sentenced to a kind of imprisonment within twelve miles of the court.  For five years he presented the pitiful sight of vast genius, united to a total want of principle or high character, and with all his splendid gifts he died despised and in disgrace.

BEN JONSON.

Born 1574—Died 1637.—Elizabeth.—James I.—Charles I.

This celebrated English poet and dramatist was born in Westminster.  After serving to his credit as a soldier in the Netherlands, he became a player and dramatic writer.  He was distinguished for his wit, learning, and various information, as well as for his writings.  He was made Poet Laureate by James I.

JOHN HAMPDEN.

Born 1594.—Died 1643.—James I.—Charles I.

This brave gentleman, born at Great Hampden, in Buckinghamshire, distinguished p. 31as a patriot, was the first to refuse payment of the shipmoney levied by Charles I.  He was one of the foremost of those who reasonably opposed the king’s unconstitutional acts.  He was killed at the battle of Chalgrove, near Oxford.

VANDYKE.

Born 1598.—Died 1641.—Elizabeth.—James I.—Charles I.

This famous Flemish portrait painter was a pupil of Rubens, but imitated Titian in his warm, rich colouring.  He lived in England for many years, being much patronised by Charles I.

WILLIAM LAUD,

Born 1573—Died 1644.—Elizabeth.—James I.—Charles I.

Archbishop of Canterbury, was born in Berkshire, and educated at the grammar school, Reading, and at St. John’s College, Oxford, of which he became President.  As Primate in the turbulent reign of Charles I., he was associated with repressive measures against the Puritans, to p. 32whom he made himself so obnoxious that through their instrumentality he was beheaded on Tower Hill.

INIGO JONES.

Born 1572.—Died 1652.—Elizabeth.—James I.—Charles I.

An architect, born in London in 1572.  He designed many imposing public buildings in his own peculiar style—the Banqueting House, Whitehall, the Church and Piazza of Covent Garden, etc.; many stately brick and stone country houses were also built by him.  He has been called the “British Vitruvius.”

ADMIRAL BLAKE.

Born 1598.—Died 1657.—Elizabeth.—James I.—Charles I.

Born at Bridgewater in Somersetshire.  He was first distinguished as a Parliamentary General.  He afterwards raised the name of the English navy, under Cromwell, to almost its greatest height.  He burnt nine pirate ships in Tunis Harbour, and after a series of battles and brilliant p. 33victories, in which he several times defeated the Dutch under Van Tromp, he carried off the spoil of several rich Spanish plate galleons at Teneriffe.  That same year, just as his well-known ship the St. George was entering Plymouth sound, Blake, worn out with toil and disease, breathed his last.

DR. WILLIAM HARVEY.

Born 1578.—Died 1657.—Elizabeth.—James I.—Charles I.

This eminent man of science, born at Folkestone in Kent, was physician extraordinary to James I. and Charles I.  He was the first discoverer of the circulation of the blood, but his great modesty of character prevented him from making it known till many years after.

JEREMY TAYLOR.

Born 1613.—Died 1667.—James I.—Charles I.—Charles II.

Born at Cambridge, became Bishop of Down and Connor, in Ireland.  He was chaplain to Charles I., and p. 34was present during several of his campaigns.  After the royal martyr’s death he kept a school in Wales, and there wrote the beautiful devotional works by which his name will be remembered.

JOHN MILTON.

Born 1608.—Died 1674.—James I.—Charles I.—Charles II.

This great poet, born in Bread Street, London, was Cromwell’s Latin Secretary, and was strongly imbued with republican opinions.  His Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained are models of sublime verse; and Comus and many smaller poems and sonnets are full of beauty and learning.  Milton was totally blind, and was obliged to dictate his poems to his daughter, who wrote for him.  He was buried in St. Giles’ church, Cripplegate, London.

SIR PETER LELY.

Born 1617.—Died 1680.—James I.—Charles I.—Charles II.

A celebrated portrait painter, whose p. 35pictures are full of grace and exquisite colouring.  He painted the well-known beauties of the court of Charles II.

JOHN BUNYAN.

1628–1688.—Charles I.—Charles II.—James II.

Born in Bedfordshire, where he began life as a tinker, then enlisted as a soldier in the Parliamentary army, and ended by preaching, for which he suffered imprisonment for twelve years.  While in prison he wrote his famous allegory The Pilgrim’s Progress, and several others, by which his name will always be known.

JOHN DRYDEN.

Born 1631.—Died 1700.—Charles I.—Charles II.—James II.—William III.

The translator of Virgil and the author of The Hind and Panther and other celebrated political and descriptive poems of singular energy and force.  His plays also are well known.  He was born at Aldwinkle, in Northamptonshire.

p. 36JOHN LOCKE.

Born 1632.—Died 1704.—Charles I.—Charles II.—James II.—William III.

A celebrated philosopher and man of learning, was born at Wrington, near Bristol.  He wrote the essay upon the Conduct of the Human Understanding.

JOHN EVELYN.

Born 1620.—Died 1706.—James I.—Charles I.—Charles II.—James II.—William III.—Anne.

This Surrey country gentleman was remarkable as a naturalist and man of literature.  He wrote a famous Diary, and “Silva,” or account of Forest Trees; also on engraving.

THOMAS KEN.

Born 1637.—Died 1711.—Charles I.—Charles II.—James II.—William and Mary.—Anne.

Bishop of Bath and Wells.  The friend and relative of Isaac Walton.  Was appointed to the bishoprick of Bath and Wells by King Charles II.  He refused to take the oath of allegiance to William and Mary, and was consequently deprived of his see.  p. 37He was one of the most eminent of those who for this refusal were called Nonjurors.  He was the author of The Evening Hymn, and other pious works.

JOHN FLAMSTEAD.

Born 1646.—Died 1719.—Charles I.—Charles II.—James II.—William III.—Anne.—George I.

The first astronomer-royal after Greenwich Observatory was built.  He made many astronomical discoveries, and drew up the catalogue of the stars seen in our astronomical hemisphere.

JOSEPH ADDISON.

Born 1672.—Died 1719.—Charles II.—James II.—William III.—Anne.—George I.

Was born at Milston, in Wiltshire, of which his father was Rector, and educated at the Charter House and Magdalene College, Oxford.  He is chiefly known by his papers in the Spectator and Tatler.  His style was pure and flowing, though more polished and artificial than the English of the present day.  He held p. 38several appointments, and became Secretary of State.  He died at Holland House, Kensington.

JOHN CHURCHILL,

Born 1650.—Died 1722.—Charles II.—James II.—William III.—Anne.—George I.

Duke of Marlborough.  This celebrated general, born in Devonshire, went to court as a page under Charles II.  He married the beautiful Sarah Jennings, became attached to the Duke of York (James II.), and rose rapidly, through his great military genius.  James II. created him Lord Churchill, and by basely forsaking him for William III., he was created Earl of Marlborough.  In the war of the Spanish Succession (1702) Marlborough dashed from the Low Countries (Belgium) to Bavaria, and defeated the French and their allies at Donauwert, Blenheim (on the Danube, thirty-three miles from Ulm), Ramilies, Oudenarde, Malplaquet, and Arleux, and in numberless smaller p. 39engagements.  After the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713, Marlborough was created a Duke, and received from the nation a property and splendid palace near Woodstock, built by Sir John Vanbrugh, and called Blenheim.  Marlborough was unhappy in his private life.

SIR CHRISTOPHER WREN.

Born 1632.—Died 1723.—Charles I.—Charles II.—James II.—William III.—Anne.—George I.

Was born at East Knoyle, in Wiltshire.  He was the greatest architect of his age, after Italian models.  He did not understand the principles of Pointed, or what is called Gothic Architecture.  Besides re-building many of the churches destroyed by the great fire of London, he built the Theatre at Oxford and re-built St. Paul’s Cathedral, which is the greatest of his works.  The Latin inscription to him to be read there justly says, “If you seek for his monument, look around you.”

p. 40SIR ISAAC NEWTON.

Born 1642.—Died 1727.—Charles I.—Charles II.—James II.—William III.—Anne.—George I.

This great man was a native of Woolsthorpe, in Lincolnshire; he has been called the founder of natural philosophy.  He made great discoveries in astronomy by applying the principle of gravitation to the planets; and established important facts in optics and mathematics.  His great works were the Principia and Optics.  He was a man of the gentlest disposition, and was so unassuming and modest that he seemed unaware of his own genius.  He died at Kensington.

SIR RICHARD STEELE.

Born 1671.—Died 1729.—Charles II.—James II.—William III.—Anne.—George I.—George II.

The friend of Addison and editor of the Spectator, Tatler, Guardian, and Englishman, in which he also wrote.

DANIEL DEFOE.

Born 1661.—Died 1731.—Charles II.—James II.—William III.—Anne.—George I.—George II.

The author of Robinson Crusoe and p. 41the History of the Plague, was the son of James Foe, a butcher of Cripplegate in London.  He also wrote tracts which several times got him into trouble.

ALEXANDER POPE.

Born 1688.—Died 1744.—James III.—William III.—Anne.—George I.—George II.

This celebrated poet of the 18th century, the son of a linendraper in the Strand, London, translated the Iliad and Odyssey, wrote the Rape of the Lock, the Essay on Man, and other poems.

DEAN JONATHAN SWIFT.

Born 1667.—Died 1745.—Charles II.—James II.—William III.—Anne.—George I.—George II.

An Irish divine, born at Dublin, was a distinguished wit and writer.  He wrote many satirical works, and Gulliver’s Travels.  His bitter, morose spirit tinges all his works.  He died insane as Dean of St. Patrick’s.

JOSEPH BUTLER.

Born 1692.—Died 1752.—William III.—Anne.—George I.—George II.

The author of the famous Analogy p. 42and Sermons, which have been long used as text-books of moral philosophy at our universities; he was Bishop of Bristol and afterwards of Durham, and Clerk of the Closet to Queen Caroline.  He was born at Wantage in Berkshire, and died at Bath.

HENRY FIELDING,

Born 1707.—Died 1754.—Anne.—George I.—George II.

Son of Lieutenant-General Fielding and great grandson of the third Earl of Denbigh, was born at Sharpham, in Somersetshire.  He was the author of Tom Jones and several other novels full of character and accurate descriptions of varieties of life, but disfigured by the great coarseness of the age in which he wrote.  He died of dropsy at Lisbon.

GENERAL WOLFE.

Born 1726.—Died 1759.—George I.—George II.—George III.

This brave General, born in Kent, earned during his short life of thirty-three years unusual distinction.  He was appointed General of the British p. 43troops in North America, under Lord Chatham’s administration, and fought in the siege of Louisbourg, which surrendered, in Cape Breton.  While afterwards besieging Quebec, Wolfe was shot at the moment of his victory over the French under Montcalm, and when told that the French troops were flying, said, “I die content.”

SAMUEL RICHARDSON.

Born 1689.—Died 1761.—William III.—Anne.—George I.—George II.—George III.

This celebrated novelist was born in Derbyshire.  He was educated at Christ’s Hospital, and began life as a printer.  He was the first English writer of fiction who, in Sir Charles Grandison, avoided the coarseness which disfigures Smollett’s and Fielding’s works.  He wrote also Pamela and Clarissa Harlowe, which have been translated into most of the European languages.

WILLIAM HOGARTH.

Born 1697.—Died 1764.—William III.—Anne.—George I.—George II.—George III.

Born in London, began life as an engraver p. 44on silver: he became a great painter.  The engravings of The Rake’s Progress, Marriage à la Mode, The Analysis of Beauty, etc., are universally known.  His works are full of satire and instruction, though not of the most pleasing kind.

JAMES STUART.

Born 1688.—Died 1766.—James II.—William III.—Anne.—George I.—George II.—George III.

The first Pretender, son of James II., who when living at St. Germain, in France, landed in Scotland after the battle of Sheriffmuir, and made a public entry into Dundee.  His small army soon melted away, and he escaped in a small vessel from the Bay of Montrose to Gravelines.  Unhappily, eight Jacobite noblemen had been induced to rise in this rebellion, and though most of them escaped, Lords Derwentwater and Kenmure were beheaded on Tower Hill.

LAWRENCE STERNE,

Born 1738.—Died 1768.—George II.—George III.

Born at Clonmel in Ireland, was p. 45author of The Sentimental Journey, Tristram Shandy, and other works.

GEORGE WHITFIELD,

Born 1714.—Died 1770.—Anne.—George I.—George II.—George III.

The founder of the sect of Calvinistic Methodists, was born in Gloucestershire, was educated at the Crypt School there, and at Pembroke College, Oxford, and first displayed there his extraordinary powers as an eloquent and forcible preacher.  He worked with the Wesleys in Georgia in America, until differences arose, which divided the Methodists into two sects, and he died the rival of Wesley, near Boston, in the United States.

DR. TOBIAS SMOLLETT,

Born 1721.—Died 1771.—George I.—George II.—George III.

Born in Scotland, was a physician, but is best known as the author of a very poor continuation of Hume’s History of England, and very powerful and striking novels, the talent of p. 46which is defaced by coarseness and want of religious principle.  He died at Leghorn.

JAMES BRINDLEY,

Born 1716.—Died 1772.—George I.—George II.—George III.

A mechanic of extraordinary abilities, born at Thornsett, in Derbyshire.  He planned the Bridgewater canal from Worsley to Manchester, and several other great works of inland navigation.

ROBERT LORD CLIVE.

Born 1725.—Died 1774.—George I.—George II.—George III.

A famous General in the East India Company’s Service, born at Styche, in Shropshire.  He fought the French under Count Lalley, and took from them Ponticherry and Chandanagore.  He defeated the Nabob of Bengal, Surajah Dowlah, who put 146 English prisoners into the Black Hole of Calcutta—twenty feet square—and after the battle of Plassey he secured for England the Empire of India.  Lord p. 47Clive was called by the Hindoos “The Daring in War.”  He was impeached for using his position to enrich himself, but acquitted, and committed suicide.

OLIVER GOLDSMITH.

Born 1728.—Died 1774.—George II.—George III.

Born at Pallas, near Longford, in Ireland.  He wrote by turns prose, poetry, and plays.  His poems of The Deserted Village and The Traveller, and his tale of the Vicar of Wakefield, are almost equally famous.

DAVID HUME.

Born 1711.—Died 1776.—Anne.—George I.—George II.—George III.

Wrote the History of England and Essays.  His writings are sadly tinged with unbelief and bitterness.  He was born and died in Edinburgh.

WILLIAM PITT,

Born 1708.—Died 1778.—Anne.—George I.—George II.—George III.

Lord Chatham.  This great statesman, the son of Mr. Robert Pitt of Boconnoc, p. 48in Cornwall, during a most successful administration, raised the dignity of England to a high standard.  His eloquence as a debater was extraordinary, and when he burst forth in indignant invective, scarcely any adversary could stand against him.  He was seized with his last illness (apoplexy) in the House of Lords, and died soon afterwards.

CAPTAIN JAMES COOK.

Born 1728.—Died 1779.—George II.—George III.

This great navigator, born at Marton, in Yorkshire, made many useful geographical discoveries.  He sailed three times round the world, and was at last killed in one of the Sandwich Islands.

DAVID GARRICK,

Born 1716.—Died 1779.—George I.—George II.—George III.

Was born at Hereford.  He is generally considered to have been altogether the most famous actor ever known on the English stage.  He p. 49was also a good writer of light literature: he died in London.

SIR WILLIAM BLACKSTONE.

Born 1723.—Died 1780.—George I.—George II.—George III.

This eminent lawyer is best known by his Commentaries and Analysis of the Laws of England, in which the information is conveyed in very clear and beautiful English: he was born in London.

DR. SAMUEL JOHNSON,

Born 1709.—Died 1784.—Anne.—George I.—George II.—George III.

The son of a bookseller at Lichfield, was a man of immense learning and capacity.  His English Dictionary, Essays, Rambler, Idler, Rasselas, and Tour to the Hebrides, show his great range of knowledge and powers of mind.  His life has been admirably written by his friend James Boswell.

CHARLES EDWARD STUART.

Born 1720.—Died 1788.—George I.—George II.—George III.

This Second Pretender to the British p. 50crown was the grandson of James II. of England.  He embarked in the Dentelle from the Loire month, and landed in Invernesshire, near Moidart, and soon raised 1,600 men.  He entered Perth, Linlithgo, and took up his abode in Holyrood Palace.  The Highlanders’ charge at Prestonpans chiefly won the engagement there, and a second at Falkirk; but at Culloden the unfortunate Pretender was obliged to see that any attempt to disturb the English throne was a vain bubble.  The Duke of Cumberland, known as the Butcher, committed atrocious cruelties after the battle.  Charles Edward was once saved by Flora Macdonald, and again by hiding in a cave on Mount Benalder.  At length a French privateer came off the Scottish coast, and after many hairbreadth escapes, he reached France in safety.  Lords Kilmarnock, Balmerino, and Lovat were executed for their share in this rebellion of ’45.  He died at Rome in 1788.

p. 51THOMAS GAINSBOROUGH.

Born 1727.—Died 1788.—George I.—George II.—George III.

This famous painter was for a long time self-taught, and his genius was first made known by his painting the head of a thief, who was looking over the wall of the garden in which the boy was painting by stealth.  The head was so strikingly like, that the man was convicted upon it.

JOHN WESLEY,

Born 1703.—Died 1791.—Anne.—George I.—George II.—George III.

The founder of Methodism, was born at Epworth, Lincolnshire.  He was a missionary for three years in North America among the Red Indians.  In his day the English Church was characterized by a great want of vigour and discipline, and Wesley and his disciples did a great work in rousing the zeal of the Church, from which he had no intention of separating, and stirring up a spirit of labour and good works.  Wesley was p. 52a preacher of great eloquence, with an aptness of illustration which was very attractive to the classes to whom he chiefly addressed himself.

SIR RICHARD ARKWRIGHT.

Born 1732.—Died 1792.—George II—George III.

A manufacturer, originally a hairdresser at Bolton, in Lancashire, was the inventor of the spinning jenny: he had large mills at Cromford, near Derby, was knighted in 1786, and died possessed of great wealth.

ADMIRAL LORD RODNEY.

Born 1718.—Died 1792.—George I.—George II.—George III.

This famous admiral was born at Walton-on-Thames.  He gained a great victory over the French under Comte de Grasse, which won for the admiral his peerage.  He fought a great battle off Cape St. Vincent, and captured four Spanish ships.  After winning the battle he went on to relieve Gibraltar.

p. 53SIR JOSHUA REYNOLDS.

Born 1723.—Died 1792.—George I.—George II.—George III.

This great painter was most celebrated for his portraits, especially his exquisite pictures of children.  He also painted historical subjects, and published his discoveries on painting, which were the substance of his lectures before the Royal Academy.  Sir Joshua was a Fellow of the Royal and Antiquarian Institutions.  He was born at Plympton, in Devonshire.

EDWARD GIBBON.

Born 1737.—Died 1794.—George II.—George III.

A celebrated historian, whose chief work was the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, a standard and classical work; the only fault in which is that it contains an attack on the Christian religion.  It was written chiefly at Lausanne, in Switzerland, where he often stayed.

JOSIAH WEDGWOOD.

Born 1730.—Died 1795.—George II.—George III.

Born at Burslem, in Staffordshire, p. 54the son of a potter.  Wedgwood had the merit of instituting an entirely new era in the manufacture of English pottery.  By intelligent observation, the study of chemical appliances, and unwearied industry, he worked a complete revolution in the making, glazing, and painting of earthenware and china.  His pottery-works in Staffordshire, ‘Etruria,’ became celebrated all over the world, and he earned for himself and his family great wealth as well as distinction.  His delicate manufacture of embossing white figures on a coloured ground, called ‘Wedgwood ware,’ is well known and much prized.  He first gave the impetus to the Staffordshire and other potteries which has enabled England to rival the first china manufactories in the world.

EDMUND BURKE,

Born 1728.—Died 1797.—George II.—George III.

Born in Dublin, was one of the most p. 55distinguished parliamentary orators ever known.  He was in opposition during the Grafton Ministry (1769), but was afterwards drawn to Fox by the debates on the taxation of the American colonies, especially on tea, against which Burke made a famous speech (1771).  He also supported Fox with all the splendour of his oratory under the Duke of Portland (1783).  The grandest of all his speeches was said to be that against Warren Hastings, in whose impeachment he took a great part.  He also spoke in the strongest way against the French Revolution, and by so doing separated himself from Fox (1791).  Burke died in 1797.  His writings are voluminous; the best known are his Reflections upon the French Revolution and his Discourse on the Sublime and Beautiful.  He lived (when in the country), died, and was buried at Beaconsfield, in Buckinghamshire, where “Burke’s Grove” is well known.

p. 56WILLIAM COWPER.

Born 1731.—Died 1800.—George II.—George III.

A poet, born at Berkhampstead, whose writings are full of the best and highest teaching.  He is best known by The Task, The Castaway, and Table Talk; but his smaller poems, On My Mother’s Picture, The Three Hares, John Gilpin, etc., more fully show his sensibility, general kindness, and playful wit.  He also translated the Iliad.  Cowper’s blameless and useful life was darkened by fits of despondency and depression, which in the end nearly destroyed his mind; but the light of religion never failed him.

SIR RALPH ABERCROMBIE

Born 1738.—Died 1801.—George II.—George III.

This brave General was engaged against Napoleon I. in Holland and Egypt, and always maintained the fame of English arms.  He won two battles at Aboukir, in Egypt, the last of which cost him his life.  p. 57He fought on, though desperately wounded, till the battle was over.

LORD CORNWALLIS.

Born 1738.—Died 1805.—George II.—George III.

A soldier who first served under the Marquis of Granby in the Seven Years’ War in Germany.  On the breaking out of the American war he was sent there, and at first was very successful, but in 1781 was obliged to surrender at York Town to the United American and French armies.  In 1786 he was sent to India, where he took Bangalore and defeated Tippoo Sahib; on returning to England he was made Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, and was instrumental in carrying out the Union of England and Ireland.  He died of fever in India, whither he was sent as Governor General, on his way to join the army at Ghazepore.

HORATIO, LORD NELSON.

Born 1758.—Died 1805.—George II.—George III.

This most famous of all the English admirals was the son of the rector p. 58of Burnham Thorpe, in Norfolk, where he was born, and went to sea first as a midshipman in the Raisonable, 64 guns, then in a West Indiaman.  He afterwards returned to the Royal Navy, and saw service in the Arctic Ocean, the West Indies, and South America.  He was a Commodore at the battle of St. Vincent, when he first boarded the San Nicholas, jumping through the cabin window, and then sprang on to the San Joseph, crying, “Victory or Westminster Abbey!”  In 1798 Nelson fought the battle of Aboukir near Alexandria, in Egypt.  The French admiral’s ship, L’Orient, blew up, and only two French ships escaped.  Nelson was immediately created ‘Lord Nelson of the Nile.’  In 1805 he hoisted his flag on board the Victory, and fought the battle of Trafalgar, between Cadiz and Gibraltar.  When grappled to the Redoutable, whose rigging was full of sharpshooters, a shot was fired through Nelson’s shoulder and spine, p. 59and he died three hours afterwards, cheered by the news that the French were totally defeated.

WILLIAM PITT,

Born 1752.—Died 1806.—George II.—George III.

The second son of Lord Chatham, born at Hayes, in Kent, was a greater statesman even than his father.  At the age of twenty-three he became Chancellor of the Exchequer, and was Prime Minister almost till his death.  His eloquence was brilliant and startling, and in spite of opposition sneers, and the ridicule which nicknamed him “the ambitious young man,” and of being often in a minority, the support of the king (George III.) and of the country, who enthusiastically seconded his opposition to Napoleon Buonaparte and the First Empire, steadily maintained him in power, and he held his ground against Fox and the Coalition ministries.  War was declared with France, against all that Fox, Sheridan, and Grey could advance.  p. 60The battle of Trafalgar raised his hopes of peace, which the news of Austerlitz quenched; and being worn out with gout, toil, and anxieties, the great minister, as has been well said, “died of old age at forty-six,” after nineteen years of public service.  He was so thoroughly beloved that the nation voted him a magnificent funeral, burial in Westminster Abbey, and £40,000 to pay his debts.

CHARLES JAMES FOX.

Born 1749.—Died 1806.—George II.—George III.

This great orator and statesman, the third son of the first Lord Holland, belonged to the opposite party in politics to Pitt, and they were continually at war throughout their public career,—Pitt representing the Tory, Fox the Whig party.  Fox made his first speech in Parliament against John Wilkes, who at that time was always stirring up sedition and spreading his infidel opinions.  The Fox and North coalitions broke up on an p. 61Indian Bill, and the one hundred and sixty supporters of Fox who lost their seats in the election that followed, were known as “Fox’s Martyrs.”  Fox estranged Burke from him by his opposing the war with France, and thus tacitly supporting the French Revolution.  After the death of Pitt, Fox again came into power under Lord Grenville, and his last acts were striving to put an end to slavery in the British dependencies, and bringing about peace with France.  He was attacked with dropsy about seven months after the death of Pitt, at whose funeral he had spoken a noble eulogium on his great public rival.

MUNGO PARK.

Born 1771.—Died 1806.—George III.

Born near Selkirk, was the first modern traveller who penetrated into the heart of Africa.  He went down the Niger, and after passing through a great variety of adventures and hardships, he was killed near Boussa.

p. 62SIR JOHN MOORE,

Born 1761.—Died 1809.—George II.—George III.

The son of a Dr. Moore, born at Glasgow, became a brave general.  He was at the taking of St. Lucia with Abercrombie, was employed in the Irish rising, and fought in Egypt and Holland.  While commanding an English army in Spain during the Peninsular war, he made his famous retreat on and was killed at Corunna.

RICHARD BRINSLEY SHERIDAN.

Born 1751.—Died 1816.—George II.—George III.

An Irishman, born in Dublin, whose wit, oratory, and parliamentary eloquence won him a dazzling reputation.  He was the personal friend of Fox, and the companion of George IV. as Prince of Wales, but was always in debt and many difficulties.  He was also celebrated as a dramatist, and wrote the comedies of The Rivals, The School for Scandal, the Duenna, and a play called Pizarro.  But he is chiefly known by what are called his p. 63bon mots, or witty sayings, which are unrivalled.  He died in London in extreme want.

WARREN HASTINGS.

Born 1732.—Died 1818.—George II.—George III.

This remarkable man, born in Worcestershire, went to India at seventeen, and after filling several important posts was made Governor General of India in 1773.  His administration was famous for the submission of the formidable enemies of England, Hyder Ali and Tippoo Sahib; but his cruelties to the Begums (princesses) of Oude and in the Rohilla war were the subject of his impeachment and trial before the House of Lords in Westminster Hall.  Sheridan pleaded the cause of the Begums in what has been reckoned the finest speech ever heard in modern times.  Warren Hastings was acquitted, but he was a ruined man until the East India Company nobly pensioned him for life with £4,000 a-year, paid his p. 64debts, arid lent him £50,000 without interest.  He died in retirement at the age of eighty-six.

JAMES WATT.

Born 1736.—Died 1819.—George II.—George III.

This celebrated mechanic and natural philosopher began life as a mathematical instrument maker, but having his attention very early called to the nature and power of steam, he directed all his energies to improvements in steam engines, and made important experiments and discoveries.  He was buried in Westminster Abbey.

JOHN KEATS.

Born 1796.—Died 1820.—George III.

A poet who, if he had lived a little later, would have been admired, praised, and had a school of imitators.  As it was his sensibilities were so wounded by the severe criticisms made upon his poems that he fell into ill-health and died.  His Endymion is the poem by which he is p. 65best known, but his volume shows that he had the merit of being beforehand with the “Lake School” in freeing English poetry from artificial trammels and opening for it a wider and more natural spirit.  He was a native of London.

SIR WILLIAM HERSCHEL.

Born 1738.—Died 1822.—George II.—George III.—George IV.

This great astronomer discovered a new planet, which he called Georgium Sidus, but which is now called Herschel.  He erected an enormous telescope at Slough.  His son, Sir John Herschel, continued his discoveries, and became one of the greatest astronomers yet known.

PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY,

Born 1792.—Died 1822.—George III.—George IV.

A poet of the most extraordinary genius and imagination, was born in Sussex.  Some of his writings are unfortunately tinged with infidelity and false beliefs.  His translations p. 66from the Greek and longer poems are very beautiful, especially the Prometheus Unbound.  Shelley was drowned in the Bay of Spezzia in Italy.

DR. JENNER.

Born 1749.—Died 1823.—George II.—George III.—George IV.

An English physician, celebrated as the discoverer of vaccination as a preventive of small-pox.  Born at Berkeley, in Gloucestershire, he was educated at Cirencester school, and was for several years a pupil of the celebrated John Hunter.  He was rewarded with several pensions as a recompense for his discoveries and disinterested labours.

JOHN KEMBLE.

Born 1757.—Died 1823.—George II.—George III.—George IV.

The greatest of a family of actors—John Philip, Stephen, Charles, and Mrs. Siddons,—whose father was proprietor of a provincial theatre.  Kemble’s fine figure and splendid face were p. 67of great service in his personation of such characters as Coriolanus, Brutus, and Julius Cæsar; Hamlet was one of his favourite parts, which particularly suited his somewhat sad and severe features.  The Kemble family raised the English stage to a perfection and dignity it has never since attained.

GEORGE GORDON, LORD BYRON.

Born 1788.—Died 1824.—George III.—George IV.

A poet, whose magnificent and musical language and passionate power conceal the want of principle and poverty of heart of most of his poems.  Childe Harold is the most celebrated of his works, The Prisoner of Chillon and The Bride of Abydos, the best in aim.  Lord Byron’s life was a bad one.  He died at Missolonghi, in Greece.

MRS. BARBAULD.

B. 1743—D. 1825.—George II.—George III.—George IV.

Anna Letitia Aikin, daughter of Dr. Aikin, a writer and literary man.  p. 68Mrs. Barbauld was the first writer of really appropriate stories for very young children, and her Children’s Hymns in Prose will probably be known as long as the English language lasts.

JOHN FLAXMAN.

Born 1755.—Died 1826.—George III.—George IV.

An eminent sculptor.  He represented in marble the tragedies of Æschylus, Homer, and Dante.  He executed two celebrated works,—“The Fury of Athamas,” and the “Cephalus and Aurora,”—and is well known by his monuments, one of the finest of which is that to Lord Mansfield, in Westminster Abbey.

SIR HUMPHREY DAVY.

Born 1778.—Died 1829.—George III.—George IV.

A celebrated natural philosopher, chiefly noted for his discoveries in chemistry and galvanism.  He was the inventor of the safety-lamp for use in mines.  His lectures at the Royal Institution were models of the p. 69narrative of scientific enquiry, and his general reading and information were extraordinary.

SIR THOMAS LAWRENCE.

Born 1769.—Died 1830.—George III.—George IV.

A well-known portrait painter, and President of the Royal Academy.  He drew good likenesses in pencil and ink at five years old, and received a prize from the Society of Arts at thirteen for a copy in chalk of Raphael’s Transfiguration.  His portraits in the Waterloo Gallery at Windsor are very celebrated.  He painted exquisite pictures of children.

GEORGE CRABBE.

Born 1754.—Died 1832.—George III.—George IV.

A poet, born at Aldborough, in Suffolk, who perhaps first opened men’s eyes in England to the poetry of common things.  His tales in verse are admirable pictures of everyday life, full of pathos.  Crabbe went to London to try to make his fortune by literature, p. 70but would have perished of want had it not been for Edmund Burke, who generously befriended him in every possible way.

SIR WALTER SCOTT.

Born 1771.—Died 1832.—George III.—George IV.—William IV.

One of the most extraordinary literary men on record.  He was born in Edinburgh, and intended for the law, and practised for a short time in Edinburgh; but his literary genius asserted itself too strongly to allow of any other pursuit.  His Border Minstrelsy was succeeded by longer poems—the Lay of the Last Minstrel, the Lady of the Lake, Lord of the Isles, Marmion, and others; and these again by a succession of novels, all differing in their rich abundance of character and incident, and all possessing a charm which few other works of fiction can even now present.  He bought a property called Abbotsford, on the Tweed, and having fallen into difficulties through p. 71the failure of one of his publishers, he ruined his health by excessive work to pay his debts.  Scott is often called, from the enchantment of his genius, “The Wizard of the North.”

WILLIAM WILBERFORCE,

Born 1759.—Died 1833.—George III.—George IV.—William IV.

Was a native of Hull.  After many years’ active labour to obtain the emancipation of slaves in the English dependencies, in which his chief coadjutors were Clarkson, Granville Sharpe, and Lord Brougham, Wilberforce lived to see the Act of Emancipation passed under William IV.

HANNAH MORE.

Born 1745.—Died 1833.—George II.—George III.—George IV.—William IV.

This excellent and remarkable woman, born at Stapleton, near Bristol, who lived through four English reigns, was a well-known moral writer.  In her early life she was distinguished for her brilliant social p. 72qualities, and was well known in the circles which Johnson, Burke, Reynolds, and Garrick frequented.  Afterwards she withdrew from the world and devoted her time to active good works and writing.  Her tracts on many useful subjects have been much read.

SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE.

Born 1772.—Died 1834.—George III.—George IV.—William IV.

A native of Devonshire.  This original and profound thinker was a moral philosopher, a most eloquent writer, and a poet.  He was also remarkable for his singular conversational powers.  His translation of Schiller’s Wallenstein, his Ancient Mariner, Remorse, Christabel, etc., and his essays called The Friend, stamp him as a true poet and philosopher.

SIR DAVID WILKIE.

Born 1785.—Died 1841.—George III.—George IV.—William IV.—Victoria.

A powerful and careful painter of p. 73common subjects, was born near Cupar, in Fifeshire.  The Blind Fiddler first established his reputation.  His portraits in the National Gallery at Edinburgh are well worth seeing.

SIR FRANCIS CHANTREY.

Born 1781.—Died 1841.—George III.—George IV.—William IV.—Victoria.

An eminent sculptor, born near Sheffield, well known for his busts and memorial figures.  His monument of the Sleeping Children with the broken snow-drops in Lichfield Cathedral, his figure of Watt in Westminster Abbey, and his bust of Scott, are perhaps some of the best and most remembered of his works.

ROBERT SOUTHEY.

Born 1774.—Died 1843.—George III.—George IV.—William IV.—Victoria.

Poet Laureate, born at Bristol.  His numerous works embrace many varieties of literature.  In poetry the Curse of Kehama, Thalaba, and Vision of Don Roderick; in prose p. 74his History of Brazil, The Doctor, and the Life of Nelson, show his great learning and research, power of language, and variety of attainments.

THOMAS CAMPBELL.

Born 1777.—Died 1844.—George II.—George III.—William IV.—Victoria.

A poet and essayist.  The Pleasures of Hope, Gertrude of Wyoming, Exile of Erin, and Mariners of England, are universally known and admired.

MRS. ELIZABETH FRY,

Born 1780.—Died 1845.—George III.—George IV.—William IV.—Victoria.

Was the third daughter of Mr. John Gurney of Norwich.  She is well known for her life devoted to works of philanthropy, and chiefly for her memorable labours for the reformation of female prisoners.  Her earliest endeavours were made in Newgate prison, and the reforms introduced there under her influence were extended to all the other prisons in the kingdom.  In the pursuit of her p. 75object she visited the chief cities of Europe, where she met with warm sympathy and encouragement.  Her energies were always at the service of the sufferers and the wretched of every class.

DANIEL O’CONNELL.

Born 1775.—Died 1845.—George III.—George IV.  William IV.—Victoria.

This famous Irish political agitator was born in Kerry, and educated at St. Omer’s, in France.  He was called to the bar in 1798, and elected member for Clare in 1828.  In spite of the continued opposition of George IV., Irish agitation through O’Connell urged the Government to pass the Catholic Relief Bill, which was done in 1829, and one of the king’s last reluctant acts was to sign it.  O’Connell supported the Government in the passing of the Reform Bill, but came into collision with Earl Grey upon the Irish Coercion Bill (1837).  He foolishly began an “agitation” for the Repeal of the Union p. 76(1843), and was arrested on a charge of sedition, found guilty, and condemned to pay a fine of £2,000 and suffer two years’ imprisonment.  The House of Lords, however, guided by the discernment and firmness of Lord Lyndhurst, reversed the decision and set O’Connell free.  He went abroad in broken health, and died at Genoa in 1847.

SIR JOHN FRANKLIN.

Born 1786.—Died 1847.—George III.—George IV.—William IV.—Victoria.

When Captain Franklin this brave and persevering explorer went out to discover the north-west passage, and after several expeditions to the North and Polar seas, he started on a last Polar voyage, from which he never returned.  In 1859 Captain Maclure went out on the same track, and found that Sir John Franklin had preceded him by five years in his discoveries, and been lost in the attempt.

p. 77MARIA EDGEWORTH.

Born 1767.—Died 1849.—George III.—George IV.—William IV.—Victoria.

This accomplished woman wrote a number of useful and educational tales, for which the children of many generations owe her a debt of gratitude.  Her Frank, Rosamond, Harry and Lucy, Moral, Popular, and Fashionable Tales, Patronage, Belinda, Harrington and Ormond, etc., are all written with a purpose of instruction that is admirably carried out.  Her last and most beautiful story, Helen, shows the wretched consequences of departing from truth.

SIR ROBERT PEEL.

Born 1788.—Died 1850.—George III.—George IV.—William IV.—Victoria.

This celebrated statesman (sprung from the class of artizans) raised himself to the highest station by his great talents and their careful and refined cultivation.  His love of literature and general knowledge were considerable, and he was a most accomplished p. 78leader of the House of Commons.  His political life was marked by the passing of the Roman Catholic Relief and the Reform Bills, and his administration by the measures passed for repealing the Corn Laws and General Free Trade.  He died from injuries sustained by a fall from his horse, in London.

WILLIAM WORDSWORTH.

Born 1770.—Died 1850.—George III.—George IV.—William IV.—Victoria.

This eminent poet is the chief founder of what is called the “Lake School” of poetry.  Throwing off the fetters of conventional and “fine” language, and clothing the reality of thought in the simplest words, Wordsworth, as a poet, is the greatest moral teacher of modern times, and no one can make a study of his works without finding himself the better for it.  The Excursion, the White Doe of Rylstone, The Brothers, and a multitude of smaller poems, are well known.  Wordsworth, Coleridge, and p. 79Southey were all strict and intimate friends; but the former outlived most of his early companions, dying at Rydal at eighty years of age.  It is much to be regretted that his poems are not spread in cheap forms.

DUKE OF WELLINGTON.

Born 1769.—Died 1852.—George III.—George IV.—William IV.—Victoria.

Arthur Wellesley, the third son of the Earl of Mornington, went into the army as an ensign in the 73rd Foot, and became a very great general and afterwards a statesman.  He went to India in 1797, where his wonderful military career may be said to have begun.  From India he passed to the command of the English armies in the Peninsular war against Buonaparte, where he steadily overcame the best French generals, and at Waterloo broke the whole strength of France, and obliged Buonaparte to surrender to the allies.  The Duke of Wellington was a man of the loftiest character as a commander and statesman, with p. 80no thought of himself, or love of praise or gain.  He lived in an unassuming way, with great simplicity, and died at Walmer Castle in 1852.

THOMAS MOORE.

Born 1779.—Died 1852.—George III.—George IV.—William IV.—Victoria.

An Irish gentleman and poet who spent much of his time with Lord Byron and the literary men of his time.  He wrote several satirical poems, but is best known by his Lalla Rookh, and the Irish and National Melodies.

SAMUEL ROGERS.

Born 1763.—Died 1855.—George III.—George IV.—William IV.—Victoria.

A poet, whose reputation was perhaps greater than his works.  His Pleasures of Memory and Italy are those chiefly known, but he wrote a variety of smaller poems of great beauty and finish.  His knowledge of literature and conversational powers were extraordinary.

p. 81ROBERT STEPHENSON.

Born 1803.—Died 1859.—George III.—George IV.—William IV.—Victoria.

The son of George Stephenson, the great engineer and mechanic, who was one of the most extraordinary instances on record of the benefits of self-education and “self-help.”  He placed the first locomotive engine on the line between Liverpool and Manchester in 1814.  Robert Stephenson succeeded his father in all his works, and carried out several gigantic undertakings, especially the tubular bridge over the Menai Straits and the Victoria bridge over the river St. Lawrence in Canada.  He was employed in making railways throughout Europe, and in America, Canada, Egypt, and India.

SIR ISAMBARD KINGDOM BRUNEL.

Born 1806.—Died 1859.—George III.—George IV.—William IV.—Victoria.

The son of Sir Mark Isambard Brunel, the engineer of the Thames Tunnel.  Sir Isambard, the son, first laid down the broad gauge system of railways, p. 82and also built the Great Eastern steamship.  His railway bridges were planned with extraordinary boldness, and that at Saltash, in Devonshire, is well known.

WILLIAM MAKEPEACE THACKERAY.

Born 1811.—Died 1863.—George III.—George IV.—William IV.—Victoria.

This celebrated writer was a Charterhouse boy.  His career began by his lectures upon the English Humorists and the Four Georges (the kings of that name), upon whom he discanted in terms of the most pungent and biting satire.  His novels, Esmond, The Newcomes, Vanity Fair, The Virginians, have become English classics.  Thackeray’s knowledge of life and character was wonderful, but he indulged in too bitter and censorious views of society.

VISCOUNT PALMERSTON,

Born 1784.—Died 1865.—George III.—George IV.—William IV.—Victoria.

Henry John Temple.  This eminent politician sat in Parliament at an p. 83early age, and spent his entire life in various ministerial offices, ending with the highest.  Through many changes of ministry he was Secretary of War for twenty years, and then became Home Secretary, Foreign Secretary, and Prime Minister.  His firmness, tact, and consummate knowledge of men and foreign affairs maintained the reputation of England on the Continent as it has never since been upheld.  Lord Palmerston was not only respected as English Premier, but was also one of the most popular ministers ever known.

JOHN KEBLE.

Born 1792—Died 1866.—George III.—George IV.—William IV.—Victoria.

The son of a clergyman, and was born on St. Mark’s day at Fairford, in Gloucestershire, where he wrote his beautiful collection of sacred poems for all the Sundays and Feasts of the year, called the Christian Year, by which his name will always be known and honoured.  Keble College p. 84in Oxford was built as a memorial of him, and an acknowledgment of his teaching.

CHARLES DICKENS.

Born 1812.—Died 1870.—George III.—George IV.—William IV.—Victoria.

This fertile and most popular novelist was educated for the law, and then became a reporter to the Morning Chronicle newspaper, in which he published a series of sketches, now known as Sketches by Boz.  The Pickwick Papers came next, and these were succeeded by Nicholas Nickleby, Oliver Twist, The Old Curiosity Shop, Barnaby Budge, and a number of other fictions, in which vice is always painted in its true colours, and the advantage of truthfulness, straightforward dealing, and kindliness brought out in strong and clear characters.  He died at the age of fifty-eight, and was privately buried in Westminster Abbey in 1870.

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